Bernard Arnault, the first French asset manager and owner of LVMH, said on Wednesday that the assets cited by Le Monde as part of the “Paradise Papers” were “constituted in a perfectly legal manner”, in a statement sent to the AFP.
The French daily – which is part of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) which has been unveiling investigations since Sunday based on the leakage of millions of financial documents – claims that Bernard Arnault has “called on at least eight different consulting firms to locate its assets in six different tax havens”.
“All the assets mentioned in this article have been constituted in a perfectly legal manner and are of course known to the tax authorities,”Mr. Arnault said in his statement.
The billionaire denounces “a journalistic operation of this medium to create a sensation by using[his] patrimony”, and denounces the fact that some of his investments were “presented as hidden and undeclared goods, taxally reprehensible, or on the brink of legality”.
In his article, Le Monde cites in particular a property north of London of 4,300 m2, the owner of which used to appear in the British cadastre as “a simple company registered in Jersey”: but “the investigations of Le Monde in the +Paradise Papers+ reveal” that”Bernard Arnault”, writes the daily.
This property “has been declared to the French tax authorities as English from the outset and has been subject, since its acquisition, to the payment of the ISF”, says Bernard Arnault.
It also assures that the “mode of holding” of the property did not “give it any tax advantage, as did the other assets mentioned”.